France has been added to the “amber” list of countries as part of the reopening of international travel from 17 May, it was confirmed on Friday.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that the country would not make the list of ‘safe’ green countries, stating that the removal of international travel restrictions on May 17 was “necessarily cautious”, adding: “We must make sure the countries we reconnect with are safe.”
The lists are expected to be reviewed and updated every three weeks.
Foreign travel will reopen under a traffic light system, with countries split into three categories: green, amber or red, depending on their level of risk in relation to Covid-19.
Destinations will make it onto the green list based on their case numbers, vaccination rates, and prevalence of any virus variants of concern. Visitors to these countries will not be required to quarantine upon their return to the UK unless they test positive for coronavirus.
But how likely is a French getaway this summer – and what are the current rules on travel? Here’s everything you need to know.
Will British holidaymakers be allowed to travel to France this summer?
It was less than a week ago that French President Emmanuel Macron began easing lockdown restrictions that were introduced in early April due to rising Covid hospitalisations across France.
At the beginning of May, Macron outlined a four-step plan to reopen the country and revitalise its economy, beginning with the reopening of nurseries and primary schools.
Secondary schools and domestic travel returned this week, with the outdoor terraces of France’s restaurants and cafes expected to reopen on 19 May, along with museums, cinemas, theatres and concert halls and the extension of the curfew to 9pm.
The indoor opening of cafes and restaurants and the extension of the curfew to 11pm is not expected to go ahead until 9 June, while 30 June marks the end of the curfew in full.
Leisure travel from England to France will be illegal until 17 May; however, arrivals from the UK are currently allowed into the country without needing an “essential reason”. Arrivals from the UK need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight.
They must also present a negative PCR test result taken within the 72 hours before travel, plus are currently required to self-isolate for seven days before taking another test (if negative they can then leave quarantine).
What will travel to an amber list country entail?
Holidaymakers travelling home from a destination on the amber list will need to take a pre-departure test - which can be a lateral flow or rapid antigen test, as well as a PCR test - with proof of a negative result.
Upon arrival to the UK from an amber list country, travellers must self-isolate at home for 10 days, plus pay to take two PCR tests: one on day two and one on day eight.
What is the current situation in France?
Almost 106,000 people have died of coronavirus in France, which has the world’s eighth-highest tally of Covid-19 deaths.
Only 24 per cent of the population have received a first vaccination, compared with over half of the UK population.
In addition to the relaxation of curfew restrictions outlined above, the wearing of face masks on public transport and in enclosed public spaces is mandatory for those aged 11 and above.